First published in the April 16 print issue of the Glendale News Press.
Entering the first matchup this season against the Burroughs High baseball team, Crescenta Valley was part of a three-way logjam atop the Pacific League standings with Burbank and Arcadia.
However, host Burroughs used a couple of big innings to dispatch the Falcons, 13-3, in a game that ended in six innings due to the 10-run mercy rule Tuesday afternoon.
“We pieced together a great game,” Burroughs coach Matt Magallon said. “We hit well. We pitched well. We played great defense and that typically wins us ballgames. It was a great overall team effort.”
With the win, Burroughs (7-2 league record, 13-9 overall) moves up and now is in a three-way tie for second place. Joining the Bears there are Crescenta Valley (14-8, 7-2) and Burbank, which lost to Arcadia 10-0 on Tuesday, leaving Arcadia alone in first place. However, this is the part of the Pacific League schedule where the contenders face each other, so things are bound to change.
“These next couple of weeks is where the rubber meets the road because everyone is playing each other, so we’ll find out what we are made of,” CV coach Phil Torres said.
Burroughs, ranked No. 10 in CIF-Southern Section Division V, blew open a 1-1 game with six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Bailey Ewan led off with a double off of CV starter Jameson Ferraro, as the first of four Bears to reach base to open the frame. Two batters later, the senior scored on a Falcon fielding error.
The Falcons got one back in the top of the fifth with a sacrifice fly by Noah Shorkey, but the Bears poured it on for four more in the bottom of the inning. The bases were loaded with Bears when Andrew Chapman belted a two-out double into left-center field to clear the bases. Zamora followed and exchanged places with Chapman via an RBI-double down the left field line. The score was 11-2 after five innings.
Crescenta Valley got one back in the sixth. Luke Steele led off with a single off of Burroughs starter Gunnar Nichols and advanced on a wild pitch soon after. Ferraro was the next batter and drove Steele home with a single. Three batters later, Nichols initiated a double play to end the threat.
The game came to an unceremonious end in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, a Falcon reliever issued four straight walks to force home Bijasa, pushing the margin to 10 and ending the contest.
“Any team coached by Phil Torres [is a challenge]. He’s been there 20-something years, and is probably the best in the league, and is someone we respect,” Magallon said. “We just tried to come out and make sure we didn’t make mistakes.”
The teams exchanged runs in the second inning. In the top of the frame, Crescenta Valley’s Tyler Garland used a sacrifice bunt to drive in Chris Barrena. In the bottom of the inning, Nick Forrest hit an RBI double.
“The mental focus was there today and it showed,” Magallon said.
The teams will play once more this season, with the Falcons hosting.